Poetry

end of lnight revision

Normal

 

 

I envy normal people.

I am aware, rationally,

that these so-called normal people

look to me with envy.

I am aware, that, in fact,

there is no such thing as normal people.

I’ll put it this way:

I envy anyone without a major vice,

addiction, character flaw or personality disorder.

I have all of these things.

I feel as though some invisible

but palpable psychic booger

is hanging from my nose!

Any idiot should be able to perceive

this booger, this gap, this wound,

this unwholesomeness

     at the core of my soul.

I have to wonder, “if I am this good a con man,

what is everyone else hiding?”

But my envy is emotional, is not amenable

to my carefully reasoned

perception that there are no normal people

in the world,

that to be alive in these times

is to be disordered

and full of concealed untidy fragments.

I envy normal people with normal lives;

with homes, families, jobs.

These are the good people engaged

in the pursuit of happiness.

Far from pursuing happiness, I have abandoned myself

to the avoidance of misery.

After fifteen years of therapy,

I’ve given up on health, happiness, thriving,

any of those curiously modern concepts

with which we aggravate ourselves.

I still envy normal people.

But I have decided to engage myself

in a ferocious loyalty to my abnormality.

It has, like an old friend, sustained me

these many years.

I’m afraid of what I might lose,

if I became, suddenly,

normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wrote this poem in 1972.  I was a very young man.  Today I entered into a prestigious poetry competition.  The fee was nominal.  Most of the big literary competitions are pay n’ pray these days.  I paid $99 last week to enter one of my novels in the Writer’s Digest E-book Competition. So it goes.  Everyone’s a writer these days.  I esteem this poem so highly that I chose it to represent my work in a major competition.  I think it deserves a read, and then a re-read.

 

The Cloak

 

Everything is in a look.

Yet still, everything

is in looking away.

Unable to breathe suns from each other,

we turn to contemplate

lonely space,

and wash our hearts

with what warmth remains.

And again, that look,

rending the cosmos,

pours from the vat of creation

in our eyes.

The unspeakable love

dashes its silences to death,

against the perimeters of our exiles.

Yet, and there is always a yet,

to be born, to be resurrected

in a touch. The miracle is

that my skin was made to meet your skin,

that unknowable lightnings are our servants

to carry the burdens of love and loneliness.

Somehow my universe gathers energy

and spreads, with the vague arms of an amoeba

to some call on the horizon.

No matter that horizons always recede;

if you too were to will your stars and dust

towards the furthest reach,

perhaps we would meet on some plain

lit by the ecstasy of celestial collision.

And perhaps we must die

to know each other.

 

Look! I would fling off my skin

like a cloak,

to show you the sun that burns within.

But as it is, only my face,

and those desperate radiations that pass

through this terrible cloak

may reach you.

Know me! Know me!

Not by my escapes into smiles

but by my facelessness,

too full to shine,

too lonely to weep.

We are infinite

yet the mystery is always a deeper note

than we can hear.

Hearken to the remotest timbre,

it rises from our source

but hides its silence.

Listen to the mask of music,

behold the facade of stars,

yet be ready to fling them away

to peer into the depth beyond depth.

Love only wears faces to entice us

in our simplicity.

God dons the robe of the cosmos

that we may not plunge into her nakedness

before we ourselves are naked love.

 

 

Arch And trails

I’ve never published this poem before. It’s not bad.  

Wholes

 

There is no part of you

that is not a whole.

There is no hole in you

that is not part of you,

whole and alive.

There is no whole without holes,

no healing without wounds

no making without

unmaking

that which is a whole,

to begin again,

be born, again, whole.

What crying is this,

in the hole, in the hurt,

yearning to be whole?

Leave yourself alone,

quiet, make everything work

for you, everything,

the base and the noble,

the useless and the crucial,

whole is what is, resting in the center

of the hole.